I loved being pregnant. I had been looking forward to it for so long. I was proud of my belly en felt extremely happy with our little bean growing inside me. I was so ecstatic that even the morning sickness (that lasted all day, for nine months), heartburn, back pain, restless legs and leg cramps couldn’t get me down. Trust me, I felt horrible every time I had to throw up at work or couldn’t sleep because of the pain in my back or because my legs where being absolutely ridiculous. But these ailments where also a daily reminder of the miracle that was growing inside my belly. So I coped. And I wrote everything down. Every bit of discomfort, when it occurred and what remedies helped. So hopefully some tips will help you cope as well!
First of all, if you are reading this and you are pregnant: congratulations! I don’t know your story, but I wish you and your baby health and happiness. I hope my experience will help you. Please note that I am not a doctor, midwife or gynecologist. So if you experience pain, bleeding or have doubts about what you feel, please contact your doctor!
When I wrote down everything I experienced during pregnancy, I did so for two of my best friends. I did not know I was going to start a blog almost two years later. I just wanted to be able to help my friends, if they ever decided to get on the baby train. So, Nadia & Saskia, this one’s for you 😉
0-3 Months of Pregnancy
It’s a boob thing…
So the first I noticed was kind of amazing, having been a very modest cup B for fourteen years. My breasts grew pretty much instantly. I waited way to long to buy a new bra. Don’t do that. Buy a new bra, now. Another weird thing I experienced was itching nipples. Yeah… sorry no remedy, just a ‘I feel yah sister’, if you are scratching your nipples right now.
Let me sleep!
I was soooo tired those first months. I could sleep pretty much anywhere, anytime. For someone who has had a sleeping disorder for over ten years this was kind of epic. The only advice I can give you is: give into it. The fatigue will disappear in your second trimester. It takes tremendous energy to build a tiny human. Your body is working extremely hard. Let it do it’s job. By resting.
I have to pee…again.
It will only get worse the bigger your baby gets. Just rest in the fact that you are going to pee and pee and pee a LOT for the next couple of months. Don’t try and ‘train’ your bladder. That’s harmful and can cause an infection. If you suspect an infection, immediately contact your doctor.
So hungry, so nauseous
I had the unfortunate experience of being nauseous 24/7, for almost nine months. A little consolation: morning sickness usually disappears in the second trimester. And if it doesn’t, it will the second you have given birth. I especially hated throwing up at work (o those where some meetings!) and not being able to find ANYTHING to eat, even though I was so hungry. I ended up having a lot of ‘go-to foods’. Every few weeks I would have found something that didn’t make me nauseous. I would binge on these foods until they did and then find something new. Three tips. 1) Listen to your body, but try to make sure you don’t miss out on all the vital vitamins, minerals and oils. 2) Walk. Walking worked like nothing else to beat the nausea. 3) Bring a toothbrush everywhere you go.
3-6 Months of Pregnancy
How am I supposed to sleep with this thing?
My sleeping bliss disappeared in my second trimester. As soon as my belly started to grow I could not find a comfortable position. I searched the web for hours trying to find the perfectly shaped pillow. Something I could slide underneath my belly. (I did not find it, so if you decide you want to fill this gap in the market, send me an e-mail, I have Ideas.) Here is what helped me get comfortable: lying on my left side, one pillow between my knees, another cropped underneath my belly and one in my back. Your partner is just going to have to scoot over. And a hard matras is definitely better than a soft one!
I’m so flexible
Your belly, uterus, pelvis, endurance, everything is being stretched to the max. That’s bound to cause some discomfort. Round ligament pain feels like menstrual cramps – like a jabbing pain in your lower belly. If it hurts a lot, for a long time or comes back every few minutes call your doctor. Otherwise, try changing positions or rub your belly with pregnancy oil. I used and loved the one from Weleda.
Definitely NOT like butterflies…
So my sister and I talked about this and I was so happy she could relate. In every book I read it said that the first kicks your baby gives ‘feel like butterflies’. Uhm, yeah, no. It felt like my bowels where being attacked by an army of gnomes. Still, it was magical. I felt Aya for the fist time around four months. At first I only felt her in the morning an evening, after a while I felt her moving around all day long. If I wanted to be reassured I would lie down, breathe calmly and try to relax. She usually responded my starting a little belly party.
6-9 Months of Pregnancy
Heartburn the midnight oil
Around six months my nausea subsided for a while. Immediately I got heartburn in return. Honestly, heartburn is worse than nausea. The only thing that worked was walking. After a thirty minute walk it was gone. Another thing that helped was eating grapefruits (I know, weird right?). Some people say vanilla custard helps. It only made me nauseous, but maybe it will work for you! Also kind of weird: lying on my right side or back made it worse, so I slept on my left side.
Hard Belly Baby
Abdominal tightening is very common in your third trimester. I had a lot of hard bellies. Especially whenever I was stressed or busy. After a long day at work my stomach would feel like a rock. Four things helped. 1) Relax obviously, destress. 2) Lie down on your back and put your legs up against a wall. 3) Take a hot shower 4) Massage your belly with pregnancy oil. If the hard bellies are accompanied by pain or surges of pain every few minutes, call your doctor or midwife.
Pelvic pain is insane
When I was around six months pregnant I woke up screaming, from the pain in my lower back. Rolling from one side to the other was pure agony. I went to a physiotherapist who was specialized in pregnant women. She was rather eccentric, but the exercises she gave me helped. Like, a lot. The pain completely disappeared. The thing is though that you have to put in the work. You have to do the exercises every day, without missing a beat. It’s dreary, but so important for you and your baby. Turn it into a moment to connect with your baby or put on Friends or get your partner to join in, whatever helps you get through it.
Miss Crazy Legs
This has to be the most annoying pregnancy ailment I endured. I had restless legs and painful leg cramps. So this is what helped with the restless legs: lie down on you back, pull up your legs up, into a ‘birthing position’, hold your knees and breathe.The best advice I can give you about the leg cramps: relax. Your instinct tells you to tighten all of your muscles when you experience pain. But that will only make it worse. Breathe and relax and I promise you, the pain will subside. Great practice for the real deal by the way! Also, drink enough water and take plenty of walks – helps with pretty much every pregnancy ailment.
To those of you who have made it to the end of this loooong list of pregnancy ailments, just remember that at the end of all the discomfort that pregnancy and birth inevitably bring, there is the greatest gift of all.
Pregnancy photo’s by ddcm.nu.